Five sculptures by American sculptor Beverly Stucker Precious were installed on NVCC’s Waterbury campus the week of July 15. Connecticut’s “Art in Public Spaces” program provided funding for the sculptures. According to the State’s Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut was among the first states to enact legislation establishing an Art in Public Spaces program. The purpose of the program is to provide citizens with an improved public environment by investing in creative works of high quality in public buildings. The program requires that not less than 1% of the cost of construction or renovation of publicly accessible buildings be allocated for the commission or purchase of artwork for that building. Funding for the sculptures came from the renovation of NVCC’s Founders Hall, which houses the College’s Allied Health programs and re-opened in the spring of 2017.
Three of the sculptures are located along the walkway between the College’s Technology Hall and Founders Hall forming a series of what Precious calls “wind words.” Fabricated from stainless steel and hand-blown dichroic glass from Germany, these works of art intend to emulate poetry that is blowing on the wind. Each sculpture in this series contains an excerpt of a poem. The three featured poems are by Joy Harjo (America’s most recent poet laureate), Maya Angelou, and Aurora Levins Morales’ poem, “Child of the Americas.”
Precious, who was at NVCC last week overseeing the installation of the sculptures, said that all of the works are site-specific and she used the landscape and buildings to inform the shape of each piece. While she has created sculptures with words before, referencing a sculpture containing the beginning of different pieces of literature for a library in Nashville, Tennessee, she said this is the first incorporation of poetry into her art.
“The idea behind this particular piece was the concept of reaching and aspiring and it’s an optimistic, joyful piece,” Precious said standing in front of the tall, pirouetting sculpture that will greet visitors to Founders Hall as it was being set into place by cranes.
“The sculptures are such an amazing addition to campus, from Don Quixote at the entrance to inspiring words of encouragement on the sculptures on the walkway to the Allied Health building. A committee of NVCC faculty, staff, and members of the community made the selections and reviewed a number of pieces and found Beverly’s work to most closely match our interest in art that would inspire and encourage students to work towards their dreams,” said Mitch Holmes, an NVCC Business professor, who served as a member of the selection committee.
The final sculpture is located between NVCC’s east and west portions of campus along a garden called, “The Poet’s Circle.” It is an homage to the Miguel de Cervantes 17th century novel, Don Quixote. “Quixote symbolizes the strength of our convictions, the fortitude to endure and the affirmation of the importance of dreaming for a better world”, said NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D., as she celebrated the installation of public art at the College. “Beverly Precious’s other sculptures leading to and by our renovated Founders Hall Center for Health Sciences also symbolize the importance of believing in our dreams and of moving forward despite adversity. This is what I hope for our students: to move forward valiantly and resolutely as they contribute to the creation of a better society, community and world,” explained President De Filippis.